Juan Martin del Potro has officially pulled out of the Australian Open in the latest setback for the former US Open champion.
The 31-year-old Argentinian, who made the last eight at Melbourne Park in 2009 and 2012, has not played since slipping and hurting his knee on the grass in the Wimbledon tune-up at Queen's in June.
‘WORST SITUATION’: Rafa Nadal blows up in ugly ATP Cup controversy
"Our two-time quarter-finalist Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from AusOpen 2020 as he continues to recover from a knee injury," the Australian Open tweeted on Saturday.
"Wishing you all the best with your recovery. We hope to see you back in Australia soon."
The injury-plagued Del Potro reached a career high of No.3 in the world but has slipped down the rankings to 120.
Fans were left gutted that Del Potro wasn’t able to get back on court as he continues to struggle with his recovery from knee surgery.
Get that knee taken care of. We will miss seeing you at the AO.— SusanZgp™ (@SusanZgp) January 11, 2020
😥💔— ℒᎯU💜 (@mlulorenzo) January 11, 2020
So disappointing, for both him and his fans. I for one have missed him. Best of luck Juan Martin in your continued healing. Hope to see you in the fall.— Vicki Podjan (@PodjanVicki) January 11, 2020
Glad I was lucky enough to be there in 2009 and 2012. Time heals. 🤞♥️— Sriyani Harper (@sriyani_harper) January 11, 2020
The opening grand slam of the year gets under way on January 20.
Del Potro’s horror run of injuries
One of just four players outside of the 'big three' to win a grand slam in the last 14 years, del Potro has had a torrid run with injuries since beating Roger Federer to claim the US Open in 2009.
He's had various knee injuries and problems with both his wrists, at one stage contemplating retirement and missing almost two years of the tour.
Countryman Diego Schwartzman said del Potro had been troubled by this particular injury since late 2018.
"It was difficult for him coming back. He was trying with different doctors, with surgery after Queen's," said Schwartzman, who had spoken to del Potro about his woes in recent weeks.
"He's not ready to come back. For us it's also difficult, because it's always nice to have Juan Martin in every tournament and for Argentina, for the country.
“For the tennis it's also important to have him on court."
Schwartzman said del Potro had been practising and figured he'd return to competition in the next one to two months.